What Readers Want

Barbara Vey -- July 31st, 2013


I’m often asked what readers want.  When I question them I get, “A good book,” “Great characters I can identify with,” “Consistency in the story,” “A great escape,” “Authors to be nice when they meet me or at the very least polite.”  This last one really gets me because it seem like such a common sense kind of thing.  Just be nice.

But the other thing readers want is to meet authors.  They absolutely go gaga over it.  When I started my Reader Appreciation Luncheon a few years ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I thought people would be interested, but would they be willing to spend money to have lunch with authors?


The biggest surprise was in the emails I received from readers before the event.  “What do I wear to meet an author?”  “Can I talk to the author?”  “Will the author sign my book?”  Again, these things seem like common sense to me, but I have to remember I’ve been around it a while.  It’s brand spanking new to many of these readers.  We just don’t get a ton of authors visiting Milwaukee, especially all at one time.

My next luncheon isn’t until April 26, 2014, but I kept getting emails asking when tickets will go on sale.  Well, the website went live at midnight.  Since that time Debbie Macomber, Darynda Jones and Dianna Love’s tables have sold out.  There’s only one seat left to sit with Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  But there are over 40 other authors to choose from including Sylvia Day, Eileen Dreyer, Eloisa James, Gena Showalter, Elizabeth Hoyt, Sharon Sala and so many others you’ll just have to check the website.

The other assumption I had was that readers would only come from Milwaukee.  Wrong.  They come from almost every state, including Alaska.  Lots from Canada and I’ve even had readers from the UK and Australia.  What this tells me is that readers are willing to travel great distances for the chance to get up close and personal with their favorite authors.

I also had to remember that not everyone is online.  So I’ll travel to libraries, senior centers, food stores and anywhere they’ll let me put out the fliers.  I don’t want any reader left out.

In November I’ll be attending the Southern Magic Luncheon and in June the Heart of Dixie Luncheon.  These events were my inspiration and only prove that readers are thirsty for this kind of get together.

Do you have an event like this in your area?  Would you attend an author luncheon?  Who would you choose to sit with (can be any author, anywhere)?

Bottom Line:  “It’s all about the readers.”  I think I’ll stitch that in a pillow…well, maybe not me stitching, but I’ll have someone else do it.


24 thoughts on “What Readers Want

  1. Dianna Love

    This is going to be another awesome luncheon in 2014!! We had a blast last year and it’s so nice to start the party Friday night with the early arrivers. There is nothing more wonderful for me than to spend the day with readers. I spend months thinking of what will make a cool gift for everyone at my table b/c I want them to have a day to remember and, in return, I will have the joy of that day to hold onto and look back at for years. The energy is over the top wonderful on that day. I highly recommend it for one reason alone – YOU deserve to do this with your friends. If you come alone, you’ll leave knowing new friends. :)

    1. Jeanne Adams AKA The Duchesse

      That’s SO true, Dianna! And like you, I spend a lot of time pondering what to do for swag at my table. Since I write about kidnappings and crime and the FBI/CIA, I tend to go with swag from the International Spy Museum. :> It’s so fun to see what people do for every table…it’s all different and all so fun!

  2. Carlene Love Flores

    Hi Barbara, I would love to someday get to attend one of your reader luncheons. That just sounds very special. Here in the D.C. area, we are spoiled with plenty of book signings and chances to meet so many wonderful authors, so I cannot complain there. Although my dream lunch would be with my two writing heroes, Dianna Love and Sherrilyn Kenyon. :) I hope the lucky readers attending your events have a blast!

    1. Jeanne Adams AKA The Duchesse

      Carlene, I’ll wave at you from DC, since I’m there too! There’s actually a signing at the inaugural Nora Roberts Writing Institute this coming weekend, if you’d like to meet Sylvia Day, Donna MacMeans, Erica Bauermeister, Gail Barrett, Susan Donovan and more! :> It’s at Hagerstown Community College

  3. Lynne Wall

    I had a great time last year I got to sit with Leanne Banks, she is the author of the first contemporary romance I ever read “Footloose”, and (I was late to the genre.) I would like to have lunch with Shannon McKenna, her book Behind Closed Doors got me hooked on romance novels and I have found so many wonderful books and authors since then. Milwaukee is so close to the Chicago area that it feels like the event is “at home”.

    1. Laurie Giese

      Lynne, I came across Behind Closed Doors about three or four years ago. I’ve read it three times. I’ve also read the rest of the McCloud series at least twice except for the last two. I have to track them down. I attended the first luncheon last year and had a great time at Roxanne St. Claire’s table. I wasn’t able to make this year’s, but I’m planning on 2014.

  4. Vicki Batman

    I go to Buns and Roses and am sitting with the fab Ms. Elizabeth Essex, a dear friend and fellow plotting princesses, historical writer extraordinaire. We met at RomCon and it was the first reader’s conference for me. I was blown away at how nice everyone, and I mean everyone, was. I loved every minute.

  5. Jeanne Adams AKA The Duchesse

    Hi Barbara! So fabulous to see you and Joysann as well at the RWA National Conference in Atlanta! :> As always, I’m looking forward to this amazing reader event! Woohooo! I’ve been both years and been so impressed with everything from the turnout to the food, to the awesome gift baskets all the authors raffle off as door prizes. SO much fun!

    As I mentioned above, I’m going to a reader/signing this coming weekend…but I’m participating, does that count? Grins. The Inaugural Nora Roberts Writing Institute is at Hagerstown Community College and features a booksigning sponsored by Nora’s own Turn the Page books. :>

    As to whose table I’d love to sit at….JK Rowling, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs….that’s the ones I don’t already know. As to those I DO already know, if I weren’t there as an author, I’d be paying to sit with one of my pals such as Dianna Love, or Darynda Jones, or Sharon Sala, or Sylvia Day or Diane Kelly, or Angie Fox (I want some of the light-up-devil-horns!) Grins. Actually, I’d pay to sit with ANY of the wonderful authors your event attracts!

  6. Mary Buckham

    So so glad I’m able to attend your READER APPRECIATION LUNCHEON this year Barbara! Woo-woo! One of the things that might help readers is that authors can be just as in awe of actually meeting readers :-) Plus other authors they may not know! But to sit at a table next to people who appreciate what you do can make an author teary-eyed! And crazy happy too. So this event is a win-win for everyone!!
    Can’t wait to see everyone in April!

  7. Heathercm2001

    I’m so excited, and I know my friends are excited as well! This will my third luncheon, and I have absolutely adored everyone I have met at each one! That’s one of the reasons we keep coming back! Dianna’s table is a TON of fun! This year, we got tickets for Julie Ann Walker’s table, but we are excited for all the authors on the list!

    Thanks for scheduling some really great authors again this year Barbara!

  8. Kathy Setter

    I can’t wait to attend! I dithered over whose table to sit at and finally decided on Elizabeth Hoyt as historical romances are my favorite and I love hers.

  9. Susan Carlisle

    I so looking forward to the luncheon. I had a blast last year and I’m sure this year will be even better. As for being nice, that’s not hard. I’m still amazed that someone wants to meet me. I’m always tickle to meet fans.

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